Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Home Again and Baking Multigrain Pecan Bread

It is quite a shock to suddenly lose the youngest sibling, so it's not surprising that the time following it is a bit surreal. Sweetie and I flew to be with her husband and stayed with him for a while to help by listening (which is really the best thing you can do for someone after a shocking loss like this), helping with getting him to professional health folks, helping with the funeral arrangements and obituary, and with day to day stuff like grocery shopping. Being in shock myself I found I had no appetite to speak of and no desire to cook (which is really strange for me) but there were dogs to love on and cats to scritch and a lot of love going around. Beautiful Taos scenery, too.

Ron went to Denver for Thanksgiving to be with his family and Sweetie and I flew to LA to be with ours. We had a fine morning at Manhattan Beach with Sweetie's extended family, then six for dinner on Thanksgiving at our place. A meal from Whole Foods made it all easy. Good times with our daughter and nephew and friends.

Rented the 'Beach House' in Redondo Beach/Torrance on VRBO and I highly recommend it, especially for nice weather. The backyard has a big grassy area, two seating areas, one of those gas elements that heat one of the seating areas, and the furniture is comfy. We spent a lot of time out there! If you have dogs, there is also a dog door in the kitchen and the yard is fully fenced with a pretty high fence. There are three bedrooms and comfy beds. Only one bathroom, but I grew up with a large family and one bathroom, so no problem. Nice kitchen with lots and lots of amenities. Big washer and dryer. Dining table for six. Lots of games under the big TV in the livingroom. It's about 4 miles from any beach, but truly a delightful place.

Once we were back home, my sourdough starter really needed feeding, so I did that and made bread with the 'toss off' after feeding it, too. It was the perfect way to ease back into cooking and baking. I created the recipe as I went along. Using my new 'toaster' oven meant that the crust was browned.

Truly delicious bread with multi-grains, sourdough, pecans and love. I made a braid loaf and then eight rolls, but you can shape this any way that pleases you.

Multigrain Sourdough Pecan Bread

1 cup sourdough starter, fed with a mixture of 1 cup all-purpose flour and 1 cup water
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1 cup mixed rolled grains and flax seed (Bob's Red Mill is the brand I used)
1 1/2 cups water
1 teaspoon dry yeast (I used RapidRise)
1 cup mashed potatoes
1 cup graham flour
2 tablespoons molasses
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup pecans, chopped

Let the sourdough starter and the feeding mixture, mixed, sit on the counter for 2 hours to ripen.

In a medium to large microwave safe bowl or measuring cup, place the mixed rolled grains and the water. Cook on high one minute. Stir, cook on high another minute. Stir, cook on high another minute, then let cook to lukewarm, stirring occasionally to even the cooling. Water will be completely absorbed by the cooked grain.

In a large mixing bowl for a stand mixer, place the ripe sourdough mixture, 1/2 cup flour, cooled grain mixture, mashed potatoes and 1/2 cup graham flour. Stir well to combine. Add the molasses and salt and stir again.

Mix the rest of the graham flour, the rest of the all purpose flour, and the dry yeast in a bowl or measuring cup. Put the dough hook onto the mixer, then mix, gradually adding the rest of the flour and graham flour mixture until dough is soft and dough starts cleaning the sides of the bowl, about 8 minutes.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Push the dough down to create roughly a rectangle about 10" by 12". Scatter half the pecans over the dough, then roll up like a jelly roll and fold the ends in. Again push the dough down to create roughly a rectangle about 10" by 12". Scatter the remaining pecans over the dough and roll up as before. Knead for a few minutes to distribute the nuts evenly through the dough.

Place the dough in a greased rising container, turning the dough over to coat with the grease/oil. Cover loosely and let rise in a warm, draft free place until doubled in bulk.

Turn dough out on a lightly floured work surface. Divide dough in half. Shape as desired. I made one braided loaf and eight rolls, but you can make two loaves in loaf pans, two boules, a mixture, etc.

Lightly cover shaped bread and let rise while preheating the oven. Brush lightly with oil or egg or milk wash if desired, then bake until crust is browned and loaf sounds hollow when tapped, about 45 minutes for a loaf and 25 minutes for rolls.

Try to let bread cool a bit before devouring.


  1. I've never had nuts in a plain old bread before... and now I'm saying, "DUH," because that seems a reasonable way of adding nutrition and flavor and crunch, and yet it never seems to occur without raisins and brown sugar!!

    The joy in the pictures of your family is heartwarming. ♥

  2. Dear Tanita, It really is a wonderful addition, although walnuts turn the dough pink-ish, so I usually knead those in after the first rise and right before shaping. Sunflower seeds are another favorite additions that doesn't need anything elses. Now I want a piece of that bread, toasted.